Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig

is a member of Leibniz Association

Link to Leibniz Association




Amphibians and Reptiles

The Herpetology section works on amphibians and reptiles from all over the world, with a special geographical focus on Europe, Africa, South America, Middle East and Southeast Asia.

The section participates in the curriculum of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Bonn (Bachelor Biology, Master OEP, PhD).

Herpetology in Bonn, summer 2014

Research focuses on taxonomy, diversity, aut-/synecology, macroecology, species conservation, biogeography, species distribution modelling, evolution, and phylogenetics.

The constantly growing scientific collection currently houses > 100.000 specimens  and curated by Dr. Dennis Rödder and Dr. Claudia Koch.

In addition, the Herpetology section contains scientific animal keeping facilities. A multitude of tropic amphibians and reptiles are kept and bred in this modern terraria installation, serving Bachelor and Master students to investigate different aspects:

  • Breeding behaviour
    Scientific animal keeping facility of the ZFMK
  • Larval development
  • Ontogenesis
  • Bioacoustics
  • etc.

Historical Facts

Herpetology in Bonn has its beginning already in the 19th century, with the person of Georg August Goldfuss (1782-1848), not to forget herpetologically important scientists as Franz Herman Troschel and Franz Leydig who were teaching Zoology at Bonn University leaving a vast amount of herpetological work.
In the first time of its existence, amphibians and reptiles were only playing a minor role in "Museum Koenig". Although the founder, Alexander Koenig, brought also large herpetological collections to Bonn from his expeditions, the specimens were taken to the herpetologist Lorenz Müller from Munich for final determination.
The herpetology section at Museum Koenig was initiated in 1951 by Adolf von Jordans, Alexander Koenig's successor. First curator was Karl F. Buchholz until 1967 who was mainly concerned with the herpetology of Greece and who augmented the collection up to 8.500 specimens. Buchholz was followed by Ulrich F. Gruber taking over this research focus, extending the collection up to 9400 specimens. In 1971, Gruber changed to the Zoological State Collection, Munich, and Wolfgang Böhme became curator of the herpetology section for nearly 40 years. With the beginning of 2011, Dennis Rödder has taken over the curatorship of the section resp. collection which is and has been constantly increased by field trips of curators, PhD students and Master students. Significant contributions came from the Near East (Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Emirates), and from Africa, emphasis of Museum Koenig (Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Benin, Zambia), but also from the Macaronesian area (Selvagens, Canaries, Cap Verdans), from Asia (Kalimantan, Vietnam) and South America (Bolivia, Costa Rica).
In 1977, a historical very valuable collection with appr. 5000 specimens from the Zoological Museum of the Göttingen University was brought to Bonn and thus was saved from being ruined, but was instead again accessible to the scientific public.
In 1978, two new staff members, Ursula Bott and Wolfgang Bischoff (the latter meanwhile retired) who had and have a great part in the reputation of the Bonn herpetology.
In 1979, foundation in the Museum Koenig of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica (S.E.H.), an international society dealing only with questions of herpetology.

Contact person

Head of Herpetology Section
+49 228 9122-252
+49 228 9122-212
d [dot] roedder [at] leibniz-zfmk [dot] de